Long-term blood sugar levels play an important role in diabetes treatment. We have compiled the most important facts about the diabetes knowledge and HbA1c value.
What does HbA1c stand for?
Sounds like a secret code, but it’s a chemical compound. The Hb stands for hemoglobin. This is the substance that makes blood cells red. Sugar molecules like to attach themselves to it. This saccharified hemoglobin is then abbreviated to HbA1c. The more sugar in the blood, the higher the HbA1c percentage. Because red blood cells live for 90 to 120 days, the HbA1c value reveals something about the average sugar level in the blood over the past three months. The value is therefore also called “sugar memory”.
a1c calculator is of course important and useful. You can use it, for example, to see in “real time” what a Black Forest cake is doing to your blood sugar, or to quickly identify hypoglycaemia. Nevertheless, the HbA1c value is important to assess how well the diabetes therapy works over a long period of time.
Is one spade enough for measurement?
No You need a little more than the tiny drop of blood for the self-measurement. But taking blood is still not a big deal: either the doctor pricks your fingertip and draws some blood into a thin glass tube. Or he draws blood from the vein and sends the sample to the laboratory. The HbA1c value is expressed as a percentage (%) or millimoles per mole (mmol/mol). Healthy people without diabetes usually have an HbA1c value between about four and six percent (20 and 40 mmol/mol).
How often is the HbA1c value determined?
The HbA1c should be measured about every three months – because it provides information about the average level of blood sugar levels during this period. The result helps the doctor and you to optimally adjust the dose of diabetes medication.
How high should the HbA1c value be in diabetes?
There is no “one” ideal HbA1c value for everyone. Just as the target values for blood sugar are individually coordinated with the doctor, the desired HbA1c value is also discussed with each patient individually. In many cases, attempts are made to achieve a value between 6.5 and 7.5 percent. Older people, who are more at risk from hypoglycaemia than from secondary diseases, often accept higher values (e.g. eight percent).
For some type 2 diabetics whose blood sugar is well controlled and hardly fluctuates, the HbA1c value is sufficient to monitor the therapy. In general, however, the value cannot completely replace blood glucose control. Especially in the case of frequent blood sugar fluctuations, it can convey a false sense of security: frequent high and frequent low values can lead to a “good” mean value in HbA1c.
Then it is time to look for the causes with your doctor. Have you perhaps exercised less or eaten less healthily? Are your diabetes tablets not optimally dosed? Or are you injecting too little insulin? Discuss how you can optimize the treatment.